This was a staple when growing up and my mum still makes it often. It’s nutritious, filling, and tasty. Its great the next day and what’s even better is frying up an egg and putting it on top for breakfast.  I know, it sounds like a really heavy breakfast but the rice & beans are ingredients that are fairly easy to digest and the egg adds protein. My husband loves parmesan cheese grated on top, which is far from Colombian. But given he’s Sicilian he feels everything is better with Parm….I can’t say I can argue with that! If you don’t have the tomato, onion & cilantro you can use a tin of salsa. But at least try making it once without the pre-made salsa. I didn’t have cilantro to top my meal in my picture so I used greens I had on hand that were quite tasty, like arugula, which has a different pepery taste. And I decided to make Pizzetti, fried italian pizza dough. Beer goes best with this meal!


Authur Ordinary Day With Milena


  • 2 lbs dried black beans – or alternatively two 19 oz tins of black beans (keep liquid)
  • 1 large yellow cooking onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large tomato – diced, removing core but keeping inside including seeds
  • 3/4 cup plain tomato sauce – I use stewed & pureed tomatoes from a jar or tin
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro – omit if you don’t like cilantro
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Jalapeño – optional – sliced and chopped into small pieces, or use pickled in tin or jar
  • water for soaking and cooking


  1. Wash beans and sift through for any debris and discard. If using tin beans make sure to keep the liquid. Soak dried beans for 24 hours, then drain and wash beans once.
  2. Simmer beans (you’ll have aprox 4 cups) with 12 cups of water on medium heat for aprox 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Do NOT add salt at this point. Keep water on hand and an eye on your beans so they don’t dry out. Cooking time can vary depending on how hard your beans are. Alternatively you could use a pressure cooker following manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. In a separate pan simmer chopped onions on medium heat till soft, aprox 5 min. Then add garlic and cook a further 2 minutes.
  4. Add tomato and cook till soft, aprox 5 min.
  5.  Once beans are soft add tomato/onion mix.
  6. Add tomato sauce, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, cumin, salt, ketchup, red wine vinegar, black pepper and if you want it spicy add jalapeño.
  7. Simmer on low for another 30 minutes stirring regularly.
  8. Serve on top of rice and top with cilantro with fried plantain on the side. For added protein serve with egg on top for breakfast or for dinner pork chops on the side. This dish is excellent right away but even better 24 hours later. Enjoy!

For a change I used a rice medley and Italian Pizzetti on the side.